A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Matawan-Aberdeen Tourism Information - 2012

We visited the New Jersey tourist information room at the Montvale Rest Area (GSP mile marker 171) on the way home from Massachusetts this afternoon. It's a rather large center where tourists coming south can pick up brochures that will help them plan their visits to our state. I wanted to see how our local area promotes itself through these brochures. If we don't brag on ourselves, no one will come.

Aberdeen-Matawan is in the northwest corner of the Shore Region of the NJ Travel Guide, which is handed out in bulk at the center. Our presence in the guide is unimpressive, with random listings and lots of gaps. Here's a breakdown of the guide, by section:
  • Visitors Info has a listing for the Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce (pg 24) and a full page ad for Monmouth County tourism (pg 25). The guide promotes nineteen points in the Shore Region; only one -- Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Rapids Family Waterpark -- is nearby.
  • Destinations (pp 26-43) includes Cliffwood (Funtime America), Keansburg (Runaway Rapids Waterpark), Keyport (Keyport Business Alliance, Captain John's Charter Fishing, Henry Hudson Trail, Keyport Fishing Pier, and Keyport Municipal Boat Ramp), Matawan (Party and Play -- actually in Old Bridge, Market Place I and II -- also in Old Bridge, and Cheesequake State Park -- yet again in Old Bridge), Union Beach (Visitor information listing). 
  • Beaches (pg 44) does not include Cliffwood Beach or Keyport. Why? They both have fishing and permit food.Cliffwood Beach has a seawall that could be listed as a boardwalk. 
  • Lodging (pp 45-50)includes 2 hotels in Hazlet.
  • Campgrounds (pg 51) mistakenly includes Cheesequake Park under Matawan.
We could do better in this guide. Matawan could promote Burroughs Mansion, the Freneau House and Gravesite, the old stagecoach stop at what is now the Brass Rail restaurant, the historic graveyard at St James AME Zion church, Lake Matawan, Lake Lefferts, the Hudson Trail, and perhaps, in the near future, a long-overdue memorial to the Matawan Creek shark attacks of 1916 and a restored Ryer House. It's a no-brainer that Matawan destinations should not include spots that are really in Old Bridge, even if they share the same zip code. And Cliffwood Beach could promote its bass fishing, natural beach, and beautiful seawall.

As for other tourist brochures available at the center, the Matawan-Aberdeen area should aim to add a listing in a future edition of the Directory of NJ Bed & Breakfasts. The downtown would have to be more inviting to tourists by adding a good mix of businesses, developing and promoting its historic and natural assets, and drawing more attention to its transportation and geographic advantages. Red Bank has its own tri-fold brochure; there's no reason why the Matawan-Aberdeen area couldn't make some adjustments and fill a tourist pamphlet of its own. Our area could also aim to upgrade the Spotlight Players to a professional theatre company so it can be added to the NJ Theatre Alliance Calendar.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Tight Squeeze in Cliffwood

The 25 Jul 2012 Aberdeen Township Zoning Board agenda included an item related to a request for variances for a forlorn property at 79 Monica Street in Cliffwood. A single family house was first proposed for this property, just off Rose Street, in 1987.Affordable housing was planned for the spot in 1999. Both applications were abandoned.

Typical of Cliffwood variance requests, the property is too small for what they want to build. The lot is only 4,325 sq ft, 2/3rds of the required 6,000 sq ft minimum size in our town. Keep in mind that a quarter acre lot would be 10,890 sq ft; this postage stamp sized Cliffwood lot is only one-tenth of an acre.

The builder-owner is the Real Estate Development Group of NJ LLC. Build Zoom says the company is based in Asbury Park and has license number 13VH05063600. Bizapedia says the company, based in Freehold, filed with the State of New Jersey in 2008 (filing number 0400262195). Inquiring minds want to know more about this developer.

I was unable to attend the meeting Wednesday night, so we'll just have to check the minutes when they're issued to see what happened with this application.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Ails Your County Employees? Inquiring Minds Wanna Know

Monmouth County Freeholders are considering the idea of spending over $17,000 to have Blue Cross Blue Shield conduct a health review of county employees to see what ails them. For some reason the bill writer thinks it would be in the best interest of the county to look at the overall health of county employees and identify the main areas of concern.

I'm not sure what the county expects to find or what they could even do with such health statistics once they obtained them. Seems like a lot of money to discover that county employees, like the rest of us, need to lose some weight or stop smoking.

My health plan offers me a free health review that develops a personal health profile with a personal response program. My health plan? Blue Cross Blue Shield. Sounds to me like the county is being sold a bill of goods.

Freeholders Consider Challenge to State's Diversion of Local Revenue

Our Monmouth County Freeholders will vote this evening on a resolution to support the League of Municipalities in their call for the State of New Jersey to restore Energy Tax Receipts to local governments. The state has been diverting these revenues to its own use in recent years in what has become something of a bad habit. The net effect has been higher property taxes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

History: Nord Chemical Co Explosion, Keyport (1952)

The 1 May 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 1, col 8) covered the overnight explosions and fire at the Nord Chemical Company at Broadway and Clark Street in Keyport.

"Area residents were jolted from their slumbers early this morning by a series of explosions . . . that set off successive waves of a roaring inferno that consumed much of the plant . . ."

Area fire companies couldn't approach the benzol-fueled chemical fire until retardant foam was delivered from Standard Oil in Linden and applied.

Nord Chemical, which had been in operation for 14 years, consisted of a plant, office buildings and storage tanks situated on 9 acres. Authorities were able to move three of four chemical tank cars on the plant's railroad spur. A neighboring company had  relocated much of its operation to Marlboro for fear of such a fire and still suffered an estimated $33,000 in damages. Nord's estimated loss was $100,000.

The manufacture of benzol distillates from waste had prompted complaints of odors and the pollution of nearby Luppatolong Creek. See "Fumes Many Complaints, Probe" in the 8 Feb 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 6, col 5) for details of these complaints and Keyport's unsuccessful efforts to get the State of New Jersey to assign blame to Nord Chemical.

The 13 Aug 1942 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 11) reported on what was the sixth fire at the plant in three years. The 29 Jul 1948 edition of the Red Bank Register (pg 9) mentioned yet another fire.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

History: Lisbon Manor, Cliffwood Beach (1989)

The 20 Dec 1989 edition of The Independent had this advertisement for the Lisbon Manor Bar and Restaurant at 160 Route 35 North in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge.. The restaurant specialized in Portuguese, Spanish and American cuisine.

The 1 Jun 1995 edition of The Independent provided a review of Don Sancho's Portuguese Restaurant at the same address.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Livotti's Old World Market, Aberdeen

We bought some fresh fruits, vegetables and meats on Saturday afternoon at Livotti's Old World Market on Route 34 in Aberdeen. A nice shop.

Dairy case
and vegetables

Deli department

Espresso bar

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Putting Young Daughters on Hold

Raising Children With Your Smartphone, by Patt Morrison. (scpr.org)
I've been seeing more and more instances of girls eight years old and under being left to make up little imagination games and otherwise spend the empty time that results from their mothers engaging in lengthy cell phone calls in public places.

Mom is typically passing what she considers dead time. She may be sitting at a table in a diner waiting for the food to be delivered. Or her daughter is eighth in line in the pediatrician's waiting room. Or she's walking her daughter to school. Or she's wending her way through the aisles at the grocery store. Or, God forbid, she's driving. Whatever the situation, the child is left to her own devices.

The little girl, a blank look on her face, sits frozen or walks aimlessly alongside her mother. Momentarily inspired, her face is suddenly resolute. She raises her arms majestically, perhaps even whirls her upper body around, pretending she's a bird. Or she sings quietly as she tends to her doll. Pausing from her activity, she looks back over her shoulder to see her mom still talking on the phone, eyes fixed not on her little girl but up into the dead airspace where this conversation is taking place.  No longer a bird, the girl returns to her blank state to idle some more.

Well acquainted with these interminable episodes of exclusion, I suppose she is resigned to her fate. This separation, the loneliness, is not new to her. It amazes me that the girl doesn't act up; but she issues no objection, no protest, not even a sigh.

I searched Google Images for pictures of "mothers on cell phone." Virtually all the selections were of happy women and their happy young children, even happy babies, sharing what appeared to be wonderful cell phone moments. Truly 99% of the images with cell phones, women and children were of smiles and joy. Perhaps the mobile telephone industry has mesmerized society in some way? Maybe I chose the wrong search terms?

After all, how can a device that connects two people to a third person bring the original two people closer together? The "connection" is not between the mother and child but between the two persons on the cell phone.  And, need I say it, the daughter is the odd man out.

I'd like to tell these women that they should engage their daughters, not ignore them or take them for granted. Their young girls are a precious commodity, beautiful people who will grow up sooner than their mothers think. I guess they'll just have to talk to their daughters by cell phone. And begin to ignore the spouse.

History: The Batman at the Keyport Strand (1943)

The terrible shootings at a Colorado movie house the other night were at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie. I thought I'd look for the first mention of a Batman movie in our local paper and found it in the 21 Oct 1943 edition of The Matawan Journal. Above is an ad for the Keyport Strand movie theater and the movies being shown that week.
  • Salute to the Marines, starring Wallace Beery, with Fay Bainter, Reginald Owen. The proudest picture of them all!
  • Ernst Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, starring Gene Tierney, Don Ameche, and Charles Colburn. It's a tonic for everything . . . from your funnybone to your heart!
  • They Came to Blow Up America, starring George Sanders, with Anna Sten.
  • Shantytown, starring Mary Lee and John Archer, and Matty Malneck and Band.
  • Hit the Ice, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Ginny Simms, with Patric Knowles, Elyse Knox, Johnny Long and his Orchestra, and 50 skating beauties.
  • The Batman, starring Lewis Wilson and J Carrol Naish.

Friday, July 20, 2012

History: Matawan Fire Ladder Truck (1995)

According to the 16 Aug 1995 edition of The Independent, Matawan Borough had been relying on Aberdeen Township's fire ladder truck since the Borough's truck had to be sidelined on 19 Nov 1993 when its ladder bent and broke at the South River Metals Company fire in Aberdeen.

Maxum Fire Apparatus, the manufacturer of the truck, had gone out of business in the meantime, so Matawan wasn't able to go back to the company about the $220,000 ladder truck they had bought in 1984 and were still paying for. Maxum's ladders were determined to be defective and pulled from service nationwide after a fireman in another state died while using one.

Matawan Mayor Robert Shuey wasn't keen on spending the $300,000 needed to adapt the truck to accept a new heavyweight ladder nor the half million dollars the fire department had been quoted to replace the truck with a bucket truck.The Council was discussing whether to continue to rely on Aberdeen's ladder truck or restore its own capabilities.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

History: Cliffwood Negro Executed at Trenton (1922)

The 19 Jan 1922 edition of The Matawan Journal told the story of the execution by electric chair of two African American men, one after the other in about fifteen minutes time, at the Trenton State Prison two nights earlier.

First to die was Louis Lively, of Moorestown, NJ, who was convicted of murdering 7-year-old Matilda Russo of that place. According to the 12 Jun 1921 edition of The New York Times, Lively and his wife attracted the attention of local officials based on certain suspicious statements and behaviors. The possible abduction soon became a murder case after the sheriff knocked down Lively's door and found the victim's mutilated and naked body buried in Lively's cellar and the murder weapon, a knife, hidden in his kitchen. Lively fled and steps were taken to avoid a lynching.

No sooner had Lively's corpse been removed from the electric chair than they brought in George Washington Knight, of Cliffwood, for his turn with the current, according to The Journal, which referred to him as "George Washington Knight, the Cliffwood negro." Knight had gotten drunk and murdered Edith Marshall Wilson, a church organist in Perth Amboy, on 12 March 1921. He stole her watch and then rode home on the trolley in a nervous state, attracting the attention of the operator, who reported him to the Keyport police. Knight gave the purloined watch as a gift, that becoming a key bit of evidence against him.

The Journal told of the Cliffwood man's final moments. "Knight, strong and powerful of build, entered the chamber with a stride almost akin to a swagger. He smiled right and left until a sudden turn brought him face to face with the chair from which the dead body of Lively had just been removed. The smile disappeared. For just an instant, Knight halted and then almost plunged into the chair, like one who has forced himself to withstand the shock of an icy bath."

"With firm, unshakable voice, carrying with the conviction of deep feeling, Knight invoked divine aid to save his soul. He continued until the tightening straps made further speech impossible. Almost at the same instant the deadly current, registering between eight and nine amperes with a flow of 1800 volts, was turned on. . . ."

Unlike today's capital crime sentencing and appeals process, which can go on and on forever, both Lively and Knight were executed less than a year after their crimes. Everyone surely agrees that punishment should follow quickly upon the occasion of a crime, but one can only wonder if justice was served here, especially in the Lively case. Both cases were solved in hours, or so it seems by the reports. Hopefully the court transcript, witness testimony and evidence against Lively were more convincing than the New York Times story about the Russo murder.

UPDATE 11 Oct 2012: The 15 Jun 1921 edition of The New Jersey Mirror contained a lengthy, detailed article on the Matilda Russo murder. Thanks to a reader for pointing this out. And thanks to Rootsweb for hosting such resources.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

History: Poll Tax in the Matawan Journal

Here is a summary of some of the poll tax articles found in The Matawan Journal over the years:

3 Feb 1870 - Fifteenth Amendment ratified, prohibiting

12 Apr 1890 - Active firemen are exempted from the poll tax and other taxes up to $500, according to the Act of 1887, page 479.

17 Jan 1891 - (Page 3 (Supplement Page 1), Col 4) Governor Abbett said the poll tax should be abolished because tax collectors say it costs more to collect the tax than the tax is expected to provide as revenue. Also, it is primarily collected from property owners who are already paying taxes to the municipality.

8 Feb 1896 - (Appeared in the 7 Feb 1936 edition's Forty Years Ago column, Page 2, Col 3) The list of delinquent taxpayers is published in this issue. The number owing for poll tax alone aggregates $239,257 being due from white males and $83 from colored. The remaining unpaid taxes amount to $560.69.

17 Oct 1896 - (Page 8, Col 1) Neptune Township Committee planned to enforce collection of delinquent poll taxes.

27 Jun 1907 - (Page 1, Col 4) Monmouth County sent out new rules for tax assessors. "'Your attention is particularly called to that portion of Section 12, Article 3, of the revised act of 1903, which says: The Assessor shall ascertain and enter in the appropriate column the poll tax charged against this person.' A compliance with this law will be insisted upon by the County Board of Taxation."

19 May 1910 - (Page 8, Col 1) Perth Amboy sent out 3,500 poll tax bills 2 months ago and had a healthy response in revenue.

23 Nov 1911 - (Page 4, Cols 1-2) The poll tax is unevenly collected across Monmouth County. Bradley Beach has decided to stop collecting it because most of the voters are property owners and already supporting the election process financially. Freehold is one of the most efficient collectors. Some people would rather spend time in the county jail. The editors opine that the poll tax delinquent should pay the dollar and support municipal government.

30 Apr 1914 - (Page 4, Col 2) Based on a new law passed by the Assembly, New Jerseyans could refuse to pay the poll tax and choose instead to spend 14 days in jail. They must then be set free, having met their obligation.

19 Feb 1926 - (Page 5, Cols 3-4) Matawan Township anticipated $150 in revenue from the poll tax, based on its published budget. (Page 6, Cols 3-4) Matawan Borough anticipated $180 in revenue from the poll tax, based on its published budget. (These budgets appeared periodically throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

3 Mar 1960 - (Page 4, Col 5, Excerpts from Newsletter Sent Out by Senator Harrison A Williams) Progress on Civil Rights:. On Feb. 2, the Senate voted 70-13 for an omnibus constitutional amendment that would, among other things, outlaw the poll tax and give suffrage in federal elections to residents of the District of Columbia. Action on other civil rights bills will be, of course, sought at this session of Congress, but the amendment would deal effectively with part of the total problem. I voted for this bill. It must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the House before going to the States for ratification.

1964 - Twenty-fourth Amendment ratified, prohibiting poll taxes or any other taxes as prerequisites to voting.

1965 - Voting Rights Act of 1965

Saturday, July 14, 2012

History: Dearborn Fruit Farm, Holmdel (1965)

Dearborn Fruit Farm ad in The Matawan Journal, 19 Aug 1965
Dominick J Luccarelli began running ads for Dearborn Fruit Farm, Route 35, Holmdel in The Matawan Journal in the mid-1960s.

According to the history page at Dearborn Market's website, Dominick's father, Frank Luccarelli, bought 100 acres of Holmdel farmland in 1925 and raised fruits and vegetables for sale in New York City. The Dearborn roadside stand was established in 1950 and was soon taken over by son Dominick.

Frank Luccarelli was born 27 Dec 1886 in Taranto, Italy and came to the US in 1910, according to census and draft records. He registered for the WWI draft in 1917 while living in Brooklyn. He was married with an infant daughter and part owner of a farm at 2300 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn in 1920. He was a widowed truck farmer living in Holmdel in 1930 with 3 young daughters and a son, Pedro. He traveled alone to Italy circa 1931, giving a Keyport address, and returned from Naples to New York aboard the S S Conde Grande in Mar 1931. By 1940, Frank had remarried and had 8 children, including 3 more daughters and a son, Dominic. The property was listed on Centerville Road in Holmdel and worth $16,000 in 1940. Frank died in Jun 1971.

(Note: Household 69 appears on pp 6-7 of the 1940 census. Household 222 appears on pp 20-21 of the 1930 census. Household 75 family 103 appears on page 9 of the 1920 census.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NAACP: This Is My Vote

The Issue

Voting rights are under attack.

Our nation is in the midst of the most aggressive attempt to roll back voting rights in over a century.

A century ago, the target was the voting rights of Black voters and other voters of color. The goal was to eliminate their presence at the polls to accelerate the spread of racial segregation.

Today, the target is the voting rights of Black voters, Latino voters, Asian American Voters, Native American Voters, as well as students and young people, seniors, working men and women, and immigrants of all colors. These are also among the voting demographics who are most likely to support workers rights, equal opportunity, women's rights, LBGT rights, environmental protection, and peace.

A century ago, their tactics were varied: grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and racially motivated ex-felon voting bans.

Today, voter suppression also takes many forms, including attacks on early and Sunday voting to make voting harder for working people, photo ID requirements for voting and registration that introduce the first financial barrier to voting since the poll tax, and the same racially-motivated ex-felon bans.

Attacking voting rights was un-American then.

Attacking voting rights is un-American now.

We rose to the challenge then.

We must meet the challenge now.

 It’s time for each of us to Stand for Freedom.

Check out the NAACP's This Is My Vote campaign to find out how to register to vote and/or join the NAACP.

Salad Sweepstakes Leads Many to Toss Privacy to the Wind

My grocery store salad-in-a-bag came with a coupon this week that included a code number that I could use to enter a sweepstakes through Facebook. It seemed harmless until I checked it out. Turned out I would have to install their dedicated application and share my Facebook information with the salad company. About 50,000 people had already loaded the app, apparently unconcerned about salad people rummaging through their personal communications. I decided I didn't really need a $40,000 trip for four to New York City.

New CERT Flood Response Trailer

Monmouth County plans to accept a new flood response trailer and associated equipment from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJ OEM) at the Freeholders 12 July 2012 regular meeting.. The trailer is being received by the county's OEM for the benefit of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) operations within Monmouth County.

The 2012 United trailer and equipment are being provided for free to the county through the New Jersey State Citizens Corps Council, the local branch of FEMA's Citizens Corps.

The resolution does not say whether the county will operate the new trailer on behalf of local CERT teams or if they will lend it out to them as needed for flood emergencies. Presumably our local CERT coordinators will be apprised of its availability in coming weeks and told of their options for its use.

Monday, July 9, 2012

History: Joshua T Clowes, Filling Station Owner, Matawan (1922)

The 15 Dec 1922 edition of The Matawan Journal included this advertisement for the J T Clowes auto filling station on Main Street in Matawan.

The ad read:
Where Service Is Paramount

Here at J T Clowes auto filling station, and where moderate charges for our goods prevail. Just because you happen to drive a five thousand dollar car is no reason we should overcharge you. That's why our customers remain with us.

                             J T Clowes        Phone 72-R
Main Street                                                                    Matawan, NJ
Joshua T Clowes (55 NJ) was living at 117 Main Street in Matawan, where he was occupied as an automobile accessories merchant, according to the 1920 Federal Census for New Jersey. His wife Ella (50 NY) and son Frank (23 NJ) lived with him.

Clowes was selling Michelin Tires in Matawan, according to an ad in the 8 Sep 1910 edition of The Matawan Journal. See my 4 Sep 2010 blog article on this and related subjects.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

History: Butler Masonic Lodge No 42, Cliffwood (1927)

The Matawan-Aberdeen Patch mentioned in a recent article that the Butler Lodge was fundraising in an effort to preserve its historic building.  The Independent noted that the building, the oldest still in use in Cliffwood, served as a mill in the 1930s and was donated to the Masons in the 1950s just before the owner died. The Butler Lodge Holding Company has made a number of improvements to the building since that time, the Independent reported. They carried a liquor license in Aberdeen Township as of 2010-2011.

I could find no published account of the establishment of this lodge, nor could I locate news of the building being donated to the Masons. The first mentions of Butler Lodge appeared in the Matawan Journal in the late 1950s. I did find this history (below) of the Butler Masonic Lodge No 42 in Cliffwood in the 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Masonic Lodge Started In 1927

Butler Lodge 42 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Scottish Rite, Cliffwood, was granted a warrant of consultation on Oct. 1, 1927.

Grand Lodge officers officiated at the installation of the first officers, who included Worshipful.Master Love L. Adams; Senior Warden Arthur Mouring; and Junior Warden Edward W. Wortham.

There are 43 members of Butler Lodge, which is named for Archie Butler. At the time of its founding, Mr. Butler was Deputy District Grand Master for the State of New Jersey. At. the present time, Mr. Butler is one of the trustees of Butler Lodge.

The present officers are: Charles L. Wynn, worshipful master; Phillip N. Gumbs, senior warden; Thomas L. Huntley, junior warden; James M. Richardson, treasurer; Samuel L. Gumbs, secretary; Nathaniel Johnson, chaplain; Earl A. Gumbs, senior deacon; Alfred O. Richardson, junior deacon; Ernest Frazier, tyler.


I researched the founding members above and can report the following:
  • There was a Love L Adams who was 45 years old and living in Pittman, Georgia in the 1920 Federal Census. His wife Amanda was 28 years old. Both were born in Georgia to Georgian parents. Love was a farmer. I also found a Love L Adams in a 1941 Newark city directory, where he was listed as a janitor. His wife was Annie. I couldn't find a local Love Adams in the 1930 Federal Census.
  • Arthur Mouring was 48 years old, born in Alabama, and living in the Matawan area, according to the 1930 Federal Census. He was a construction laborer. His wife Sarah was 51 and born in Georgia. Their son Charles was 10 and born in Alabama.
  • Edward Wortham was 45 years old, born in Virginia, and living in the Matawan area. His wife Mannie was 45 and born in Florida. Living with them was James Wortham, age 4?, born in New York.
UPDATE: I researched the leadership of the Lodge as of 1957:
  • Samuel L Gumbs was born 30 Aug 1925 and died in Cliffwood on 1 Jul 1999.  He lived at 196 Delaware Avenue in Cliffwood as of 1988 and 175 Delaware Avenue as of 1993. His gravestone at Midway Green Cemetery in Aberdeen shows that he was a US Navy veteran of the Second World War: SC2 USN WWII. The 1930 Federal Census showed him as the 5 year old son of Nathan and Edith Gumbs of the British West Indies. His parents lived in Cliffwood in 1930 and had come to the US in 1912. They remained aliens as of 1930. Nathan was a grocer who owned his own store. Samuel's siblings, all born in NJ, were Omyo * (12 M), Camilla (10 F), Christopher (9 M), Kenneth (8, M), Philip (7, M), Gwendolyn * (4 1/12, F), and Milton (2 10/12). (* Omyo and Gwendolyn - rendered Guandlin -- are best guesses at the names as written by the enumerator.)
  • Judge Philip N Gumbs was born in Perth Amboy on 29 Apr 1923 and died in Neptune, NJ on 18 Oct 2005. His obituary in the 21 Oct 2005 edition of the Newark Star-Ledger said he was the first African-American judge (1976) and freeholder (1974) in Monmouth County and a former mayor of Aberdeen (1974-75). He was named as a workers compensation judge by Governor Brendan Byrne and retired as a senior compensation judge in 2001. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He attended John Marshall College in Jersey City and studied law at Rutgers University Law School and Lincoln University in Missouri.
  • There was a James M Richardson, born 1933, who lived at 28 Avon Street in Cliffwood in 1993 - 2000.
  • There was an Ernest Frazier who was born 7 Dec 1933, lived in Red Bank in the early 1990s, and died there on 15 Dec 1994. An Ernest Frazier was also listed in the 1956 city directory for Red Bank.
  • I found nothing definitive on Earl A Gumbs, Charles L Wynn, Thomas L Huntley or Nathaniel Johnson.

African-American Series: 1940 Federal Census, Matawan Twp (ED 13-98)

Below is my index to the African American residents enumerated in the 1940 Federal Census for New Jersey in Enumeration District (ED) 13-98, which included part of Matawan Township - present day Aberdeen Township. (Other districts in this census included ED 13-97 and ED 13-99)

Entries show head of household and spouse, if married, with ages and place of birth. Children and grandchildren are listed as family. Others are described and listed. The last figures in each entry show the household number and page number from the census. Apparent household numbering errors are marked with an asterisk (*).

Abbreviations for places of birth listed below:
  • AL - Alabama
  • FL - Florida
  • GA - Georgia
  • IA - Iowa
  • IL - Illinois
  • LA - Louisiana
  • MD - Maryland
  • NC - North Carolina
  • NJ - New Jersey
  • NY - New York
  • PA - Pennsylvania
  • SC - South Carolina
  • TX - Texas
  • VA - Virginia

Atlantic Avenue
  • Elliot and Carrie Smith (46 NC, 44 NC). (158, pg 19)
  • Joseph and Eldest Harris (40 GA, 39 GA) and 7 children. (159, pg 19)
  • Bessie Ellison (33 NJ) and son William Brown (17 NJ) and brother Arthur Brown (43 VA) and niece Pauline Kneel (19 NY). (160, pg 19)
  • John A Johnson, widowed (54 NC) and housekeeper Tennessee Williams (33 LA) and the housekeeper's 2 daughters.
South Atlantic Avenue
  • Catherine V Shem, widowed (92 NJ), 2 daughters - Sally Bodias, widowed (68 NJ) and Carrie Booker, widowed (58 NJ), and an adult granddaughter, Nina Callender, widowed (30 NJ). (231, pg 26)
  • Frank and Fannie Watkins (61 NC, 65 NJ). (232, pg 26)
  • William and Masthead Watson (30 NJ, 29 NJ). (233, pg 26)
  • William and Mary H Schanck (70 NJ, 64 NJ) and 2 daughters - Modesta Schanck (41 NJ) with 2 Schanck children, and Grace McGuire, widowed (30 NJ) with 2 Schanck children. (234, pg 26)
Bank Street
  • Alec and Hulda Watson (64 VA, 57 NJ) and 5 children. (248, pp 27-28)
Church Street
  • James and Zella Samuels (54 VA, 42 VA) and 9 children. (237, pp 26-27)
  • Judson Lane (52 NJ) and his sister Vera Lane, nephew William Waldrich (16 PA) and cousin William Jones, widowed (62 NJ). (238, pg 27)
  • Lester and Grace Bradshaw (50 NJ, 46 NJ) and 2 sons. (239, pg 27)
  • Bertha Lane, widowed (56 VA) and lodger Amanda Norfolk, widowed (88 VA). (240, pg 27)
Dock Street
  • George and Alice Johnson (36 GA, 37 GA) and a young daughter and nephew. (12, pg 2)
  • Roselee Johnson, widowed (30 NC) and family. (20, pg 3)
First Street
  • Dan Williams (50 GA) and lodgers William and Della Rice. (21 NJ, 20 NC). (145, pg 17)
  • Alexander and Gertrude Kiah (41 NC, 35 NC) and 3 daughters, plus a lodger named Benjamin Davis (29 NJ). (146, pg 17)
  • Cleo Hedgepeth, widowed (26 GA) and a daughter. (147, pg 17)
  •  Edward and Vastoria Jones (21 GA, 19 NJ). (148, pg 17)
  • Benjamin and Viola Armour (38 GA, 23 GA) and 6 children. (149, pg 17)
  • Morris and Hattie Rice (41 GA, 42 GA) and 8 children. (150, pp 17-18)
  • Cleola Jones, widowed (42 GA) and 3 daughters. (151, pg 18)
  • Axie Lee (67 GA) and a daughter and 3 grandchildren and lodger Effie Royster, widowed (62 PA). (155, pg 18)
  • William and Leola Jones Lee (28 GA, 22 GA) and 3 children. (156, pg 18)
  • John and Jonnie Mae Rice (32 GA, 35 GA) and 6 children. (157, pg 18) 
Gaston Avenue
  • Jurney and Gertrude Bailey (56 VA, 58 VA) and twin adult sons Russell and Theodore. (116, pg 13)
Gerard Avenue
  • Joseph and Hannah Curtis (57 MD, 54 MD) and a niece and 4 nephews surnamed Thomas. (89, pg 10)
  • Milton and Dorothy Jackson (41 NJ, 38 TX) (90, pg 10)
  • Melvina Dawson, widowed (41 SC) and lodgers William Alexander (48 NC), Arthur and Lorine Williams (38 NC, 25 FL), and Chester Mitchell (51 NC). (124, pg 14)
Lower Main Street
  • Ernest and Marie Mandeville (50 NJ, 30 AL) and an infant son and Ernest's elderly mother. (46, pg 5)
  • Margaret Pitman, widowed (62 NC) and son Royal, single, and an infant grandson. (64, pg 7)
  • William Cheek (50 NC) (65, pg 7)
  • Mabel Taylor, widowed (48 VA) and family. (66, pp 7-8)
  • Maggie Bagby, widowed (69 VA) and two granddaughters and a lodger, Bennet Craft (30 VA). (67, pg 8)
  • Mollie Skipper, widowed (74 VA). (79, pg 9)
  • Estelle Jenkins, widowed (47 NJ) and four children surnamed Baird. (80, pg 9)
Washington Avenue
  • Margaret Day (35 MD) and Earl and Veronica Coats (her son-in-law and daughter), and her grandson. (32, pg 4)
  • William and Mary Brooks (48 VA, 44 NC) and George and Lillian Lamar (their son-in-law and daughter) and their grandchildren. (33, pg 4)
Water Street
  • Fred and Elizabeth Applegate (70 PA, 55 NY) and brother-in-law George McGuire, widowed (38 NJ). (249, pg 28)
  • Dock and Anne Edwards (40 VA, 36 NJ) and 6 children. (250, pg 28)
  • Jesse and Dorothy Fuller (36 SC, 29 NY) and 3 children. (251, pg 28)
  • Lester and Evelyn Dorsey (69 IL, 54 NY) and 3 children and 3 lodgers - Edward Keeling (45 VA), Charles McGee (39 NJ), and William Rose (60 IA). (252, pg 28)
  • William and Clara Clayton (40 NJ, 39 NJ) and 5 children. (253, pg 28)
  • William Bambury, single (58 VA) and Helen Herbert (27 NJ) with 2 Herbert children and 3 lodgers - Bertha Hodge (23 NJ) and Mabel McKnight (27 NC) and William McKnight (25 NC). (254, pg 28)
  • George Harris (63 NJ). (255, pg 28)
  • Roosevelt and Lila McKnight (34 NC, 27 NJ) and 4 children. (256, pg 29)
  • Reuben and Mabel Phillips (60 NJ, 42 NJ) and 7 children, including daughter Gussie Lewis (20 NJ) married to John D Lewis (22 GA) with an infant child.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

History: Fourth of July in Matawan (1881-1962)

Below is the recounting of Independence Day celebrations past in the Matawan area. I've sampled Matawan Journal articles every twenty years from 1881 to 1962. More often than not, there were no public displays of fireworks, my friends.

The 9 Jul 1881 edition of The Matawan Journal:


The Fourth of July was ushered in on Monday morning by Young America, by the ringing of the truck house and carriage factory bells, shortly after midnight, and as dawn approached, the sounds of pistols and fire crackers broke upon the air, disturbing the slumbers of scores not yet ready for hours to be wakened.

The central point of interest for the day was the M. E. Church. In the morning and early afternoon the gentlemen and ladies were preparing for the fair and festival, which by the usual denominational courtesy was to be held this year by this society.

The Columbia cornet band was present and discoursed excellent music.

The fair and festival by the ladies was a perfect success. Everything was sold; over 150 took supper, and the demand was so great that stores and bakery had to drawn upon to obtain more food for the hungry throng. Ice cream was in great demand, and calls for it were made after 175 quarts had been sold. Not a vestige of anything vendible was for sale when the fair closed at the early hour of 10:45 -- not even a cent's worth of peanuts. The exact net amount is not yet positively known, but the church will clear over $125 above expenses.

At 4 PM, quite a large audience gathered in the church to enjoy the exercise announced. After music by the band, the Declaration of Independence was read by Rev John Wilson, of South Amboy. Albert S Cloke, Esq, of Jersey City, was then introduced and made an earnest and a patriotic address. . . .

The 11 Jul 1901 edition of The Matawan Journal:

Fourth of July was quietly observed by our people. There was "nothing doing" during the the day except for the small boys, and there were but few fireworks set off at night. A. M. Faye of Broklyn gave a nice display at J. L. M. Dominick's.

The 7 Jul 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal:

Except for the constant string of automobiles, which was the greatest in the history of the town, Fourth of July was quietly observed. The day was excessively hot making all who could seek cooler shores to celebrate the day. Few fire works and no rowdyism marked the Holiday.

The 9 Jul 1942 edition of The Matawan Journal

 Matawan First Aid Squad Awards 3 Tons of Coal

Three tons of coal disposed of on the cooperative plan by the Matawan First Aid Squad, were awarded at The Matawan Theater on Fourth of July. The money raised by this method took the place of the usual Fourth of July celebration sponsored by the squad, which could not be held this year because of the dim-out regulations and the lack of fireworks display.

Two tons of coal were awarded to Emerson Lisk, who donated the money the squad would pay for the coal, to the organization. One ton was awarded to Joseph Vincent.

The early July 1961 and July 1962 editions of the Matawan Journal republished articles about past Fourth of July festivities in Matawan, including fireworks, in a dedicated history column. There was no hint in the regular news of public celebrations.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Aberdeen and Matawan Inspectors - 2012

Matawan and Aberdeen have inspector rosters at their municipal websites. New Jersey also has an online roster for municipal inspectors current as of 22 June 2012:
  • Building Inspector (Sub-code official): John T. Quinn (M); John T Quinn (A)
  • Electrical Inspector (Sub-code official): Nick A Fabiano, Jr (M); John T Quinn (A)
  • Fire Inspector (Sub-code official): John W Borden (M); Robert S Debold (A)
  • Plumbing Inspector (Sub-code official): Robert A Nelson, Jr (M); John E Palmer (A)
Below are their total earnings as New Jersey public employees in 2011, according to DataUniverse.All had multiple jobs in the state.
  • John Quinn made a total of $144,558 at two jobs in 2011, $106,186 with Aberdeen Township and $38,372 with the Borough of Matawan. Quinn serves as Aberdeen's Director of Planning, Zoning, and Development and the township's Construction Official. As Aberdeen's Construction Official, Quinn has two technical assistants: Paula Ramsay ($35,427) and Joann Huza ($39,649).
  • John Borden made a total of $117,960 at four jobs in 2011, earning $83,475 at his main job with Marlboro, plus $14,377 at Matawan, $9,356 at Colts Neck, and $10,752 at the Monmouth County Hall of Records.
  • Robert Debold made a total of $103,037 at two jobs in 2011, earning $63,288 with Aberdeen Township Fire District #1 and $29,749 with Aberdeen Township.
  • John Palmer earned $99,179 at six jobs in 2011, earning $36,316 with Long Branch, $23,199 with Aberdeen,  $20,632 with Eatontown, $9,684 with West Long Branch, $9,348 with Oceanport, and $0 with Matawan.
  • Nick Fabiano made a total of $25,337 at two jobs in 2011, earning $14,009 with Matawan and  $11,328 with Deal.
  • I found a Robert A Nelson in Datauniverse records for 2011, but he only worked for Colts Neck. Perhaps he is new to Matawan?
UPDATE: When I wrote the above piece I didn't realize that Matawan had a Fire Prevention Bureau with a Fire Official named Glenn F Turner who also conducts CO inspections. According to his calendar, Mr Turner is scheduled to inspect the First Presbyterian Church next week. Let's hope it isn't a follow on to the lengthy and so far unproductive series of visits by the Borough's electrical inspector regarding the church's new solar panels. (See Red Tape Blocks Solar Energy in Matawan at The Patch) One could reasonably come to the conclusion that the Borough had something against the church. Someone from The Patch ought to drop by the church on July 10th at 10 am to see how things proceed with the fire inspection. Oh, Mr. Turner was paid $30,845 by Matawan last year.

UPDATE: The fire inspection went quite well. A Borough councilman accompanied. An electrical inspection is due soon, hopefully to finalize the solar installation.

History: Singer Sewing Machines, Monmouth and Middlesex Counties (1870 - 1972)

D B Strong was the Matawan agent for Singer sewing machines in Jun 1874.
Daniel B Strong's advertisement in the 9 Jul 1870 edition of The Matawan Journal designated him as Singer's agent in Monmouth County. That ad hailed the Singer sewing machine as "the best machine made for all kinds of work, from the finest Cambric to the heaviest beaver cloth." He also sold fabric and accessories.

"Daniel B. Strong was a clothing manufacturer and was one of the first men in this section to have brot from the city clothing to be made up by help thruout the country. The clothing would come to his place in a large wooden box, and he would distribute it thruout the surrounding country for the men and women to make up. He would later gather it and ship it back to New York ready for the shop. Mr. Strong, in connection with the making of clothing, was an agent for the Singer sewing machine, justice of the peace, commissioner of deeds, insurance agent and general adviser for the community, and had time left to play a little politics, at which he was also successful, finally landing the postmastership for Matawan. He had the post office located in his store, which was located on the lot now the flower garden of Dr. C. A. Gesswein." (Excerpted from the fourth in a series of articles on the history of Matawan Boro and its institutions written by Charles E Close, which appeared in the 16 Aug 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal.)

D. B. Strong was the agent for Singer sewing machines in Matawan, according his advertisement in the 20 Jun 1874 edition of The Matawan Journal. Again, he also sold fabrics and accessories.

The advertisement read as follows:


The "SINGER" does all kinds of work, on the heaviest Cloth, or the finest Cambrie.
Also, best Machine Silk, Cotton and Thread, Oil, Needles, etc for sale.

The 9 Jan 1875 edition of The Matawan Journal said that a thousand men formerly employed at Singer Sewing Machines and other factories in Elizabethport, NJ were out of work.
The 25 Oct 1879 edition of The Matawan Journal said that Singer's headquarters in Monmouth County were in Red Bank, where Mr D. C. Van Dorn was manager. A wide assortment of accessories were available at their Freehold branch office at James Van Note's at 39 South Street. Mrs E. Houghton operated their Long Branch branch office. Singer bragged that they now sold 3/4ths of all sewing machines in the world and cautioned against worthless imitations.

The 21 Nov 1896 edition of the Matawan Journal mentioned a Singer sewing machine outlet at 22 Front Street in Keyport.

The 29 Sep 1910 edition of The Matawan Journal contained the following article about the Perth Amboy agent for Singer:

Singer Agent Indicted

Albert Silver, a former Singer Sewing Machine agent in Perth Amboy, pleaded not guilty to five indictments against him before Judge Lyon in New Brunswick last week. The charges were forgery, embezzlement from the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and obtaining money under false pretenses from three Perth Amboy people. He was held under $2,000 bail for trial.

The great loss of jobs at a Singer sewing machine plant in Indiana came up in a pro-tariff speech at a Republican party event there, according to the 29 Oct 1914 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The Keyport Skirt Company was hiring experienced female Singer sewing machine operators in the 23 Jun 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal. The company was located in the Keough Building. (The 15 Dec 1922 edition carried a similar ad.)

The Keyport Skirt Company was expanding, according to the 27 Jul 1923 edition of the paper. They advertised "light, clean and airy rooms," possibly in response to concerns about bad working conditions. (The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire had been a dozen years earlier.) They offered steady work and good pay. They were adding space for more workers. The company's address was given as the corner of Front and Church Streets in Keyport.

The Hanson-Van Winkle-Munning Company of Matawan provided a list of famous products they polished, plated, or buffed with Hanson-Munning equipment and supplies in an ad found in the 20 Jul 1928 edition of The Matawan Journal. Among the famous brands was Singer sewing machines.

A Christmas 1933 ad for Singer sewing machines and accessories.
Singer Sewing Machine Co ran a Christmas ad in the 8 Dec 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal. Singer was located next to the Post Office East Front Street in Keyport, and was under the management of W. J. Kimpton.

Birch's Hardware Store of Main Street in Freehold was having a sale on Singer sewing machines, according to an ad in the 17 May 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. The machines were $7.50 and up.

The 3 Apr 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal said that the Bayview Rod and Gun Club of Morgan hosted a return match against the Singer Sewing Machine Co riflemen of Elizabeth.

The Singer Sewing Machine Co of 70 Smith Street in Perth Amboy advertised its repair services and used machine purchases in an advertisement in the 30 Dec 1943 edition of The Matawan Journal. These ads ran throughout the Second World War and beyond. The 19 Jun 1947 edition of the paper included their ad for teenager sewing classes - 8 two-hour lessons for $8. Sometime over the next five years, the company opened a Singer Sewing Center at 169 Smith Street, according to an ad in the 30 Oct 1952 edition of the paper.

The Sewing Machine Exchange, 241 First Street, Keyport, advertised a portable electric Singer sewing machine for sale for $24 in the 14 Dec 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Singer offered electric treadles for its usually manually-powered sewing machines in an ad appearing in the 30 Jul 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad listed Singer Sewing Centers at 38 East Front Street in Keyport and the 169 Smith Street center in Perth Amboy.

Pete's Inc, with stores at 44 West Front Street, Keyport; 267 Main Street, Keansburg; and 814 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, ran an ad for portable Singer sewing machines in the 13 Dec 1956 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The J C Penney store in the Sayre Wood Shopping Center had a Singer Sewing Shop, according to an ad in the 31 Jul 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The Singer Sewing Machine Co at 69 Broad Street, Red Bank advertised for a commissioned salesman in the 4 Aug 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Jersey Central Power & Light Co was to hold a training seminar for home economics teachers at its auditorium in Allenhurst. Jessie Dalzell, the regional representative for Singer, would speak on the subject "Sewing Techniques," according to the 14 Dec 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The 12 Oct 1972 edition of The Matawan Journal included an ad for Downtown Keyport's Treasure Days. Free prizes included a Singer sewing machine.